This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, April 2. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.
New Department of Defense (DoD) cases of Covid-19 decreased over the past week, with the 7-day average decreasing by 9 percent to 601 new cases as of April 9. This marks a return to declining incidence in DoD new cases after they have increased for the past two weeks, which parallels similar trends in the broader U.S. population. Deaths rose by 5 this past week, reaching 335 as of Friday, April 9. The DoD has vaccinated a total of 2,167,093 individuals as of April 9.
- April 6: Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) asked in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for greater transparency in how military personnel and their families abroad are being vaccinated. This comes among difficulties in vaccinating forces stationed in Europe.
- April 7: Stars and Stripes reports that the military has made significant progress in vaccinating soldiers stationed in Japan and South Korea as cases have not significantly increased on bases while case incidence rates increase in both countries.
- April 7: The Veterans Administration expanded Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to spouses and caregivers of military members in line with legislation passed by Congress in mid-March.
- April 8: Army researchers announced the beginning of clinical trials for a new vaccine, SpFN, developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The Wall Street Journal reports that the vaccine shows positive early signs of protecting against new strains of Covid-19.
- April 8: Army Lieutenant General Ronald J. Place, Director of the Defense Health Agency, shared that the military has needed to ship additional doses of the Moderna vaccine to forces overseas after a recent batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did not meet quality standards. All eligible troops, family members, and beneficiaries will be able to receive the vaccine by April 19.
Military Cases of Covid-19
How DoD cases have been trending over time is broken down below, by new cases; total cases; active cases in the DoD; and across the military services.
Methodological note: 1) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday totals are divided across the intervening days and weekends since DoD Covid-19 updates are only released during the work week on a M-W-F basis. 2) Adjustments were made on April 9 and April 15 when new cases where negative. These days were totaled and divided by the previous day to account for the correction. 3) DoD appeared to change the way cases were reported between April 15-Aprilt 16. A resulting spike in cases on April 16 was divided over the two prior days to account for this methodological shift.
This weekly update is made possible by the International Security Program at CSIS.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)